The hidden potential of the bambara groundnut
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CTA. 1999. The hidden potential of the bambara groundnut. Spore 82. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/48496
Internet URL: http://spore.cta.int/images/stories/pdf/old/spore82.pdf
The bambara groundnut (Vigna subterranea (L.) Verdc.) is grossly undervalued in Africa, according to Gaebewe Ramolemana, lecturer in soil fertility at the University of Botswana. The bambara groundnut, a relative of the cowpea, is a protein-rich...
The bambara groundnut (Vigna subterranea (L.) Verdc.) is grossly undervalued in Africa, according to Gaebewe Ramolemana, lecturer in soil fertility at the University of Botswana. The bambara groundnut, a relative of the cowpea, is a protein-rich crop valued for its drought tolerance and low demand on soil properties. The nut is used for home consumption and is sold on local markets. The crop's foliage is used as fodder for livestock. Nevertheless, very little research has been done for raising yields or making the crop commercially more interesting. Ramolemana discovered that phosphorous fertilisers, irrigation, and higher plant density can increase yields. He found that the addition of moisture enhances intake of phosphorus, the scarcest nutrient in Botswanan soils. The nutrient is most needed for growth during the first two weeks after sowing. So applying moisture during this critical period makes a lot of difference. Farmers usually obtain yields of about 500 kg/ha, but Ramolemana's irrigated pilot plots yielded over 4 t/ha. Even his rainfed plots produced almost 3 t/ha after adding phosphorus and increasing plant density. 'You should avoid too many plants. We are still looking for the optimum', says Ramolemana. His research was part of a 5-year, EU-funded project, which involved a comparative investigation of the potential of the bambara groundnut in Botswana, Sierra Leone, and Tanzania. For further information Botswana College of Agriculture, Department of Crop Science and Production Private Bag 0027, Content Farms Sebele, Gaborone, Botswana Fax: +267 328 753 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org BAMNET, c/o Information Centre for Genetic Resources, PO Box 201415, D-53144 Bonn, Germany. Fax: +49 228 954 8220 Email: email@example.com See also Spore 79, the International Bambara Groundnut Network (BAMNET).